A very quick re-cap: In March of next year I will retire from full-time ministry after a very blessed 44 years total and 34 years here at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville.
In order to make the transition to the new pastor who will follow me as easy and successful as possible for both that pastor and our congregation, we have undertaken the process to identify and bring that pastor into our church as Associate Pastor for almost a year, to serve alongside me for a quality time of information, and by the way, not indoctrination, and in March become our Senior Pastor, at which time I will take on the role of Pastor Emeritus.
In my recounting our process in this series of articles, I left off as we had identified an extremely well qualified candidate. Subsequently, we brought The Rev. Dr. Scott Ness, from Columbus, Ohio, into town for a weekend visit and interviews with our Call Committee and Council, followed by another Sunday on which he preached and stood before the whole congregation for Q&A.
His sermon was well organized, easy to follow and listen to, full of human experience examples, and most importantly, solid in Biblical theology. To say the least, he was very well received by our congregation, and excitement began to mount that we had “found our pastor,” or more accurately, God had brought us together.
A few weeks later, on Sunday, January 27, of this year, we voted in a full Congregation Meeting to call “Pastor Scott,” as he humbly asks to be called, into this position with its unfolding and advancing responsibilities.
I believe his acceptance letter will give you a flavor of the depth and warmth of this outstanding young pastor. I share it here.
To the Faithful People of Prince of Peace,
“Oh God our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come, our Shelter from the stormy blast, and our Eternal Home.”
The first stanza of this great hymn of our faith speaks to the ever-present power and might of our great God. These faithful words remind us that the Lord remains the same forever and always. The One who formed order from the chaos of the deep in Genesis is the same who led Moses and the Israelites out of bondage and into the promised land. The Lord that gave strength to the cowering Gideon instilled courage into the shepherd boy, David. The Holy One who preserved a remnant of faithful prophets is the same One that raised up John to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. It is exceedingly Good News that the God who helped us in the past age is present with us in the current age. And that He awaits in the age to come, beckoning us into His future. This is the story of Jesus and His great love for you. And, it continues.
It is in light of this Absolute Truth, and in full reliance upon the unending promise of Jesus’ presence and grace, that I humbly receive and accept your Call to serve as your associate pastor and next senior pastor. The whole Ness family is thrilled and elated! (wife and six children)
Thank you for your vote of trust in me and in that of the group of leaders who have faithfully lead Prince of Peace through the call process. It has been a joy and privilege to get to know them all and work with them in discerning this mutual call. It remains clear to me that this call to serve among you is the work of the Lord. I look forward to getting to know each of you and hearing more about your story and how Jesus is the common thread between all of our stories.
I am very excited to join you and continue the wonderful ministry that Jesus has been working among you. When I think of this, April seems really far away. I am anxious to join you and get started with you. And yet, I know that we have a lot to do here in Ohio between now and then. As we are preparing our house and preparing to say goodbye to friends and family, know that our hearts are excited and eager to begin this next chapter with you.
Rest assured I will remain in close contact with Pastor Kollmeyer, President William Ware, the staff, and the rest of the leadership as we continue to approach April. Please know that between now and then (and beyond), the whole Ness family will be holding y’all in prayer.
In Christ and with Excitement!
(Signed) Pastor Scott
The April which Pastor Scott mentions has now come, as his first Sunday with us was April 14, Palm Sunday, and now he has been a part of all our Holy Week and Easter Services, which begins to fulfill our mutual goal of “experiencing” our traditions. He will be installed as Associate Pastor on Sunday, May 12, and preach on May 19. Come hear him!
Find Pastor Kollmeyer and Pastor Scott at www.princeofpeacefayette.org